Late in November, the provincial government and the New Brunswick
Forest Products Association released the findings of a major study they
had jointly commissioned. The study is entitled New Brunswick Crown
Forests: Assessment of Stewardship and Management and was conducted by
the Finnish company Jaakko Poyry Consulting. The study considers the
potential of New Brunswick's Crown Lands to yield increased harvests while
maintaining current standards of environmental integrity and genetic
In essence the study examines two periods of future forest management.
It recognizes that any improvements in forest management which begin to be
implemented now will take until about 2035 to realize increased production
goals. By logical extension, then, it also acknowledges that between now
and 2035 there will be some decisions to make which could, at the very
least, be considered controversial and contentious. For the moment, I
think that the most important thing to consider is that Natural Resources
Minister Jeannot Volpe, has committed himself and his government to
extensive public hearings before making any policy decisions on the
report. Needless to say, I am going to be returning to this study and its
On another front, I was extremely interested in the news story last
week about NB Power's having to shift the Dalhousie Thermal Plant back to
Bunker C oil because current political unrest in Venezuela has caused an
interruption in supplies of Orimulsion. The irony behind this story is
almost too sharp to be believable. Six months ago, NB Power was wrapping
up a successful campaign to convince the government to allow it to convert
the Coleson Cove Generating Station outside of Saint John to Orimulsion.
One of its selling points was that the fuel was cheap, abundant - and from
a reliable source. In fact, NB Power spokespeople stressed that last point
as an argument against Nova Scotia natural gas, the implication being that
While everyone knew that Venezuela was politically and economically
reliable, we could not be sure about that radical government in Nova
Scotia. Given the political history of so many countries in South America,
and given that the current political situation in Venezuela seems headed
for greater unrest, the deal for orimulsion looks even less attractive
than it ever did.
Finally, I have to mention, for these of you who have read this column
over the years, that my faithful companion in many of the small adventures
I have mentioned in that time died just before Christmas. Herbie would
have been fifteen this coming spring. I still find myself looking for him
whenever I step out the back door. Even recently, slow and stiff as he had
become, he was still interested in accompanying me on my frequent rambles
over the property or whenever he could convince me to take him along for a
ride in the truck.
To say that I will miss him is an understatement.
This article appeared in the Campbellton Tribune, in Mike's "Grains of Sand" column.
It is reproduced with Mike's permission.